Exploring Collagen Peptides

But First, CollagenWhat’s the Buzz?

Hydrolyzed collagen protein is a category at the top of many 2019 “must have” supplement lists, and for good reason. Known by an array of names and terms (collagen peptides, collagen hydrolysate, hydrolyzed gelatin, etc.), research indicates collagen peptides are a powerful anti-inflammatory food with pro-aging* properties for skin, hair, bones, connective tissues, joints and the digestive system.

(*Side note: I do not like the term “anti-aging,” which is so prevalent in our culture, so I’m using “pro-aging” instead. How can we be anti-aging when everything on the planet is aging from the moment of its creation!? It’s like saying we’re anti-living! Better to embrace aging, and embrace the experience and wisdom that come with it, than to fight it, kicking and screaming to our final flowerbeds. Or, as Bob Dylan wrote, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”)

So anyway, collagen protein has a unique amino acid profile consisting mostly of glycine, glutamic acid, proline, hydroxyproline and alanine. It is derived from the connective tissues of animals, like cattle, chicken, or fish. In bovine collagen, it comes from the hide. This processed collagen is a good alternative to making your own bone stocks, as the act of hydrolyzing yields a lower molecular weight and a less complex structure (i.e., it’s smaller). This allows you to use it in a variety of ways, such as adding to hot or cold beverages, (like coffee, tea, golden turmeric milk, smoothies, even just water), and the smaller size makes it easier to absorb into the bloodstream. Tasteless and odorless, collagen is an easy add-in.

Harvest Market Staff with Collagen Products

Why Collagen?

Once we hit the magical age of 30, some things start to teeter a little downhill. As we age, our body’s production of collagen declines dramatically. Our bodies are most likely not replenishing collagen as quickly as we’re loosing it, since this rebuilding process slows with age as well. In fact, there is an astounding 75% less collagen in elderly adults as compared to collagen levels in those under 30. Our bodies show the effects: Our skin looks older, is less elastic, less vibrant and less hydrated. We might start getting creaking joints or knee and hip pain, or even gut issues. It can also mean dull, thinning hair and brittle nails. (But I’m still pro-aging, okay?!)

Great Lakes CollagenThink of that dried-out old yellow sponge on your kitchen counter. That’s our over-30 (and especially over-50) collagen supply. It’s hard and crinkly with a few loose fibers sticking out. Now, hold that same sponge under the running faucet. See how it plumps up and becomes more pliable? That’s what adding collagen to the diet is like. Regular intake of collagen may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, support hair follicle health and nail growth, keep joints, tendons, and bones strong and flexible, help improve range of motion, and increase skin hydration and elasticity.

Collagen is the building block of the gut’s connective tissue, and can strengthen the protective lining of your GI tract as it aids in digestion by regulating the secretion of stomach acids, and may even help heal ulcers, leaky gut and IBS. Additionally, because of its ability to hold water in the intestines, collagen helps to move food through the GI tract more smoothly for a “smoother move” later on. It is the glue that keeps our bodies together, protects our organs, and provides structure to our joints and tendons. Collagen helps with joint and muscle pain, and when used alongside a workout routine, can assist the internal biological systems that help build muscle and burn fat.

Younger and Older Skin

Animal studies on collagen peptides suggest oral consumption may benefit bone health, even in a calcium deficient state. A human clinical study published in the periodical Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism examined ingestion of 10 grams of collagen peptides per day for a period of 30-90 days. A positive effect on knee joint comfort was noted and the effect was even more pronounced in patients suffering with more severe osteoarthritic symptoms. The journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology published a “gold standard” study: a double blind, placebo controlled clinical study in 2014 which demonstrated a relationship between a 12-week daily regimen of orally consumed hydrolyzed collagen and significantly improved skin elasticity, structure, and moisture.

Why CollagenWhat Robs the Body of Collagen?

Well, it may not surprise you that certain foods and lifestyle choices can actually steal collagen from our bodies, and it is a similar list to those which can also lead to chronic inflammation. These include but are not limited to:

  • Poor sleep. (We’ve talked about this before. Get your zzz’s!)
  • Sugar. (Too much sugar in the diet robs the body of collagen. It’s that simple. Avoid it.)
  • Injuries and joint degeneration. (Be careful out there. We’re not Superman or Wonder Woman, and our bodies are not indestructible. And the older we get, the longer the recovery time from injury, due, in no small part, to less bodily collagen. See Catch-22.)
  • High cortisol levels. (See stress management 101.)
  • Sun over-exposure. (A little sun = good. Too much sun = not so good.)
  • Lack of antioxidants. (Eat those colors! Blues, reds, dark greens, a whole rainbow. Get those free radicals under control. Show them who’s boss.)
  • Lack of exercise. (Sitting at a desk job or on the sofa all day? Get up and have a walk.)
  • Poor gut health. (Eat more fermented foods and take your daily probiotics. Avoid cheap refined oils and junk food.)
  • Nutritional shortfalls of Vitamin C and Zinc. (Supplements work nicely here.)
  • Smoking (Smoking accelerates the aging process, adding fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the mouth, to an otherwise biologically young face. Researchers at the University of Oulu in Finland found that smoking “negatively impacted the rate of collagen I and collagen III synthesis in the skin.” Slower collagen synthesis means that the skin loses some of its tensile strength and begins to sag prematurely. Not to mention all the other reasons smoking is bad for your health.)

Why CollagenWhat About the Different Types?

Type I and III. Simply put, types I and III are good for hair, skin, nails and bones. They are also beneficial for help healing the gut lining. Usual derived from bovine sources, supplementing with types I and III collagen may also, “increase skin hydration by 28%, decrease micro-furrows by 26%, and increase skin suppleness by 19%,” according to national collagen educator Tim Mount. Suggested use: Take as directed with juice or a Vitamin C supplement in the morning, and take separately from Type II Collagen if possible.

Type I is also available as Marine Collagen, like Vital Proteins, sourced from wild caught snapper, and Nordic Naturals, which uses wild-caught Arctic cod. They are sustainable and easily absorbed to help the body’s own collagen-producing cells. Marine Collagen is sometimes referred to as a “beauty” collagen.

Type II. This type is for joint and cartilage support, frequently sourced from chicken cartilage. Type II may help with activity-related joint pain and inflammation. Suggested use: Take as directed at bedtime on an empty stomach. To improve effectiveness, it may be best to not take in conjunction with types I and III, as all the proteins tend to compete with one another for your bloodstream’s attention.

Type V and X: Though the first three types of collagen are the most abundant in the body and the most commonly found in supplements, some of the lesser-known types, notably types V and X, are also important for key body functions. Type V collagen helps form cell membranes and the tissue in women’s placentas, while type X plays a crucial role in bone formation. Type V collagen is usually sourced from the membranes of eggshells, type X is made from chicken and bovine sources. Supplements that contain just types V and X are tough to find. Ancient Nutrition’s Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Formula contains types I, II, III, V, and X, and is a good option for anyone seeking the overall benefits of collagen protein. They have processed all the collagens in such a way that they play well together, and can be added all at once to your favorite beverage. Again, these types are also tasteless and odorless.

Who Makes It?

Harvest Market has many collagens to choose from, and in all types. And they are all hydrolyzed and all certified grass-fed where applicable. These include Great Lakes, Vital Proteins, Primal Kitchen, Bluebonnet, Ancient Nutrition Dr. Axe Multi-Collagen, and Nordic Naturals Marine Collagen.

New to our family of collagens is Garden of Life, offering a nice variety with something for everyone.

Details. Details. Details. Garden of Life Collagen Unflavored

Garden of Life Collagen Peptides (9.87 oz. and 19.75 oz.) in Unflavored

Garden of Life now offers three Grass-Fed Collagen products to meet your specific needs. The entire line is Non-GMO Tested and Certified, Keto Certified, Paleo Friendly and NSF Gluten Free. Whether it’s fortifying hair, skin and nails or supporting healthy joints and mobility, they have the clean, convenient answer to your collagen questions.

  • 20g grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen
  • Lactobacillus plantarum (1.5 Billion CFU) for digestion
  • Non-GMO Tested and Certified, Keto Certified, Certified Paleo Friendly and NSF Gluten Free Certified
  • Unflavored
  • Mixes easily, hot or cold, use in shakes, smoothies and in baking

Garden of Life Collagen BeautyGarden of Life Collagen Beauty (9.52 oz.) in Strawberry Lemonade and Cranberry Pomegranate

Grass Fed Collagen Beauty brings together the best plant-derived building blocks (biotin, silica, vitamin c) for beauty and their unique grass-fed bovine collagen: Type I (found in hair, skin and nails) and Type III (found in skin, muscles and blood vessels) highly absorbable collagen peptides. Convenient and delicious, just add to shakes and smoothies.

  • 12g grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen peptides
  • Lactobacillus plantarum (1.5 Billion CFU) for digestion
  • Non-GMO Tested and Certified, Keto Certified, Certified Paleo Friendly and NSF Gluten Free Certified
  • Two delicious organic flavors—Strawberry Lemonade and Cranberry Pomegranate
  • Supports radiant skin, gorgeous hair and beautiful nails
  • Powerful organic plant-based collagen builders: Biotin, Silica and Vitamin C.

GArden of Life Turmeric CollagenGarden of Life Collagen Turmeric (7.76oz.) in Apple Cinnamon

Multi-sourced Collagen Turmeric offers powerful plant-derived ingredients together with highly absorbable collagen peptides from grass-fed bovine collagen and clinically studied, undenatured (Type II) chicken collagen. We’ve added 500mg of fermented organic turmeric root to deliver 50mg of curcuminoids to further support joints and mobility. Convenient and easy-to-use, just add to shakes and smoothies.

  • 10g grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen peptides with undenatured Type II collagen
  • Lactobacillus plantarum (1.5 Billion CFU) for digestion
  • Non-GMO Tested and Certified, Keto Certified, Certified Paleo Friendly and NSF Gluten Free Certified
  • Promotes skin elasticity, strong nails and healthy hair
  • Supports joints and mobility
  • Delicious Apple Cinnamon taste – use in shakes and smoothies

– Henry, Wellness Manager and Collagen Peptide Lover